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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

GUEST BLOG: From Abby - She's Back At Square 0


Hi Everyone!
Even though I'm gone I didn't want to leave you guys hanging... so I'd like to introduce you to one of my Twitter friends, Abby.  She's very inspiring to me and I think this post will show you why.

Hello all,
I'm Abby from BackAtSquareZero. A while ago I decided to change my life and get in shape. I went from barely being able to run to the mailbox to training for my second marathon. People ask me what in the world would make me crazy enough top want to run 26.2 miles, or how my training is going, but the question I get asked the most is - "How do you stay motivated?"
Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect (unless you ask my Oma) so I struggle with days I just don't want to work out. Either I am too busy, too tired, having too much fun doing something else, or just don't want to leave the couch. These are the things I have found that help me out the most when I am having one of those days:

Motivation Tips:
1. Schedule it in - Whether you use an iPhone, Blackberry, tablet, or old fashioned pen and paper be sure to write in your workout just as you do every other task or meeting. It is just as important and you should make sure you treat it as such. Schedule in runs/walks or find classes at a local gym or fitness center that you have to go to at specific times.

2. Find a friend - Recruit one of your own or join a local running, walking, biking group. Exercising is more pleasant if you have someone to commiserate with. Plus when you schedule workout dates you are less likely to skip out (because then you're the jerk that cancelled).

3. Register for an event - Having a set goal means you have something to train or work towards. I always try to have something on my calendar to look forward to. On days I don't feel like running I remind myself of my next race and how I need, and want, to be prepared for it. (I'm currently participating in the Runner's World Summer Run Streak and it gets me out the door ever day.)

4. Be accountable - Track everything you do. I keep a blank monthly calendar on my desk and use it to record my daily workouts. Just be glancing at it I can see the days I missed a workout (marked with a big X). I hate having to cross out the days and love getting to write in big workout numbers. Some days when I am not very motivated I'll record my workout before I leave. Then I feel like I have to stick to it because I don't want to cross it out and change it to something less. I also use MyFitnessPal because I love seeing how many calories my workouts burn. That really motivates me.

5. Give yourself rewards - I don't do anything big or do it very regularly (teacher's salary), but I do allow myself rewards after I meet a fitness, training, or weight loss goal. At first all my rewards were food - Whoops! Then I realized that was not helping me on my quest to get healthy and fit so now my rewards are fitness based. For example: I promise myself that if I ran all 38 days of the Runner's World summer run streak I could buy myself a new Lululemon running tank top. As hot as it is running in my old t-shirts right now (over 90 today) thinking about that tank really keeps me going. (This is the one I have my eyes on. Cute right?)

6. Reflect - Think of how far you have come and be proud of yourself. I keep a before and after picture of myself near my workout stuff where only I can see it. When I feel like I don't want to work out I pull it out and think about how much I have accomplished and how I don't want to go back to my old life style. Don't have an after picture yet? When I first started I kept a picture I hated of myself next to my run shoes, it reminded me of why I wanted to run.

and my biggest tip….

7. Get out the door! - Once you make it out and go a few steps chances are you'll want to go a few, or a lot, more. To do this I put my run clothes on the minute I get home even if I can't run for a bit. If I still lack motivation I'll hop on iTunes and download a new song, pop it on my iPod, & press play. Usually this new music makes me want to get going and I head out the door. Plus by the time the song is over I'm already into it and continue. I'll spend $1.29 a few times a month in order to get my workout in.

I'd love to hear it - What do you do to stay motivated? Any special tricks?
Any work out, running, or motivation questions?
Please comment and let me know

Want to keep the conversation going?
Feel free to talk to me any time. I love to chat about healthy living and working out.
Abby
You can find me at the following places:
www.backatsquarezero.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/BackAtSquare0
www.pinterest.com/ BackAtSquare0
Twitter & Instagram @ BackAtSquare0

Friday, July 27, 2012

My thoughts pre-vacation ...

Dan - AK circa 2007
I've wanted to take this trip for five years.  Literally ever since we were in Alaska the last time.  We've been planning this trip for so long and I know that we will have an amazing time but I'll be very honest with you.  I'm scared shitless.  I know that Alaska has practically an endless supply of seafood (which I love) but I am wondering whether the changes I've made over the past two years will stay with me or fall out of the airplane as soon as we begin our ascent.

Sockeye Trip - 2007
The bears were too cool not to show you! - 2007
I am really hoping that the amount of activity that we have planned for the trip will balance out the eating but I don't know.  I'm trying to figure out what my "goal" for vacation should be.  Maintain?  Gain no more than 5 pounds?  I don't know.  Given the level of activity I've been hitting lately it seems difficult to maintain but knowing that training for the half marathon will begin just 2 short weeks after I return really makes me want to maintain or lose weight.  I'm trying to be realistic though - who loses weight on vacation?  


While I'm gone I've got some fabulous guest bloggers filling in for me.  Abby, Mercedes and Stephanie are amazing friends who have so graciously volunteered to entertain and educate you.  I hope that you'll tune in for those posts and show them lots of love in the comments section.


The other thing you can do while I'm gone (because I knew you were hoping I'd add something to your to-do list!) is to donate to my fundraising campaign for Team Challenge.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Well, let me tell you why less guts means more glory.  If you don't care and just want to donate, then you can go here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Less guts. More glory.

If you're friends with my on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter (and if you're not, why not?) or if you haven't been living under a rock you know that I'm getting hooked up with the wonderful folks from the Team Challenge of Illiniois chapter to train and run the Las Vegas Half Marathon (it's part of the Rock 'n Roll series of races) in December.  Last week the endurance manager, Lauren, contacted me so we could meet sometime this week.  She also sent me some paperwork that I could fill out at my leisure and send back to her so I'd be officially registered to race in December.  She told me to return it whenever I could.  I did it as soon as I'd received it and have been so excited since then.  That's my big news!  I'M OFFICIALLY REGISTERED TO RUN THE LAS VEGAS HALF MARATHON!!!!  (Yes, all caps and many exclamation points are necessary)

But here's where I need your help.  I am also raising money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).  As a long time Crohn's patient I've been suffered through the "best" and worst of this disease.  Dozens of different medications, even more hospitalizations, and one surgery to remove a portion of my intestine, hence the post title.  Clever huh? Big shout out to Brenda & Alex for that gem!!  So, I know how important the work is that this organization does and want to support them as best I can.  I have a fundraising goal but would LOVE LOVE LOVE to exceed that goal and I'm hoping you'll donate (and pass this message along to friends and family) and help me do that.  All you have to do is go to my fundraising site and donate.  All donations are tax deductible because CCFA is a registered 501(c)3 charity.  

Thank you for all your help, your love and your support.  I also found out that my cousin, Mark, has registered to run the race too.  I'm super excited to possibly have a running buddy for at least a portion of the race and it'll be awesome to compare training notes.  Of course, the built in cheering squad that comes for him will be a spectacular way to break up the course too.  I'm sure I'll be posting more about my training program once the official training program starts.  In the meantime, if you're interested in running with me in Las Vegas, let me know.  Otherwise, please donate!

http://www.active.com/donate/illinoisLV12/LV_JMcElro

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't know what I did ....

At my weigh-in today I thought Martha, the WW receptionist, was crazy.  Straight up bat shit, going to the crazy house crazy.  She told me I'd lost 4 pounds.  FOUR POUNDS!!  No way, I said, you mean I lost four tenths of a pound.  Then she showed me the computer screen.  Dumbfounded I looked from the computer screen to my tracker and back again.  Then I did a double take.  Oh my ... oops.  She was right.  So I'm sorry about that crazy comment Martha.  That one was my bad.

Now, don't get me wrong I am thankful that I lost weight.  I'm especially thankful that I lost such a large amount.  I am however questioning HOW I did it and how to make it happen again.  I realize, after the last two years of trial and error (e.g. gains and losses) that not every week is a loss and certainly not a multiple pound loss.  It is, however, pretty common for me to weigh-in and think about what I did over the week and figure out what worked or what went tragically wrong.  This week I didn't have an epic workout week like I did two weeks ago (earned 72 activity points but was EXHAUSTED) so maybe it was the effort in trying to  stay within my daily points target?  I'm not sure (and Dan told me to stop hypothesizing on it).

Dan's other piece of sage advice when I told him I lost the weight and didn't know how?  Just do that again next week.

Do you ever have weeks where the scale tells you something fabulous but you wonder when the other shoe will drop?  Show me some love in the comments and tell me about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two Year Weight Loss Anniversary

July 2010 - About a week after starting Weight Watchers
Do you guys know what this week is?  It's the two year anniversary (or weightiversary as Jen called it) of when I started Weight Watchers!  I can't help but feel eternally grateful to a very special friend of mine.  Sheri called me and told that she was going to join and asked if I wanted to join as well.  I am so glad that I said yes!  When I started I honestly didn't know how long I'd be on the program.  I mean I'd been a Weight Watchers member before but I quit and my track record of losing weight, quitting and gaining it all back again was staggering because I'd done it so many times before.  I didn't know this time would be different.

July 2012
Fast forward two years and I can't imagine NOT going to my meeting and catching up with the friends that I've made through the meetings.  I love that I can text several of them for guidance and support throughout the week.  I also love the Weight Watchers members I've met via Twitter and the other healthy living blogs that I read.  I didn't realize how important it would be to me to realize that I am not alone in this journey and we can rely on each other for support.  I have learned so much from all of these friends and most importantly to not give up because at the end of the day this journey, while bumpy and uncomfortable at times, it absolutely amazing.  


So what did you guys do this week?  Hit any milestones or recognize any non-scale victories?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

34 miles!

At the half way point - 17 miles in
A few weeks ago I posted about the new bike that I got.  I'd been riding it around my neighborhood several days a week usually covering about 12 miles per day.  This past weekend we had nothing planned by design because I have to work the next two weekends so we wanted to chill and just spend some time together.  When Dan suggested that we head out on our first bike ride together (other than the day that I got the new bike) I was totally game.  He did all the research about the trails and I just said, wherever you want to go I'll go.  Honestly I was a little nervous about my netherea (aka girl parts) on such a long ride (his bike seat is more cushioned than mine even though mine is really comfortable) but figured it was now or never.  I was thinking we'd do about 20-25 miles but he suggested a route to go to Sycamore, IL that was 17 miles.  One way.  I knew that getting there wouldn't be a problem and I told him that we might have to make some stops on the way back to rest and he was cool with that.

Garmin says - yes you were going up hill!
I put our water bottles in the fridge on Friday night so the water would be cold.  In the morning I grabbed them and packed my spibelt with 2 mini CLIF bars, chapstick, ID, cash and my iPhone.  I also packed 2 more water bottles filled with ice and a few other snacks to leave in the car for the ride home (the trail head was about 20-25 minutes from our house).  Once we arrived we unloaded our bikes and we were off... and apparently going uphill.  Ugh.  The majority of the trail was on crushed limestone, except for a few miles in the middle around Wasco, IL that are blacktop.  I didn't realize how much more difficult it was riding on it until we made the transition from blacktop to limestone on the way back.  That was some slow going!  Plus it's dirty/dusty and when you're sweaty that's an *awesome* combination!  The rest of the ride was cool though and quite a lot of the trail was under a really heavy tree canopy so at least we had shade.

We stopped once on the way out to rest and get water and we stopped a whole bunch of times on the way back!  At about 3 miles from the end Dan called it quits.  He said his legs were really hurting.  Honestly, his bike needed some work because he was working WAY harder than he needed to be but we took his both our bikes in Sunday to get looked at (my cables needed to be tightened) so we can go out tomorrow.  I practically flew back to the car because as I left him I started to worry that maybe he was suffering from dehydration.  Apparently that's a good motivator to bike fast because I was moving way faster than I had ever done (except on a down hill) before.  Luckily, I got back to him and he was fine albeit sore.   We covered 34.11 miles in 2:50:14 which I didn't think was too shabby at all.  Plus, do you know how many activity points you earn from that?!  A LOT!!

What a great new activity for us to do together!  Have you found something that you like doing with your honey?